Tag Archives: Pan Am

#Flying100 – My First Flight

4262682093_39b53720c6_b

A Pan Am Boeing 747-200 at London Gatwick Airport. Photo courtesy of Dean Morley via Flickr.

The good folks at the International Air Transport Association sent me an email recently telling me that Jan. 1, 1914, marked the first ever scheduled flight with a paying passenger. Throughout 2014, IATA is celebrating this milestone various ways, including a website and through the IATA Twitter account using the hashtag #Flying100.  So I’m going to join the celebration and tell the story of my first flight.

My dad was a captain in the U.S. Air Force (he stayed in for 30 years) and we were moving to Royal Air Force Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. Back in the olden days, flying was still a big deal. We were flying out of JFK Airport to London on Pan Am. My sister, 3, and I, 6, were dressed in our Sunday best — complete with hats, purses and white gloves.

Our New York cousins came to see us off at the airport, and they were also wearing their Sunday best. Back then, there wasn’t the onerous security there is now, so we were all able to walk around and go to the gate. When it was time to board the Boeing 747, I was allowed to go into the cockpit. The captain was very kind, explaining all the controls and talking about our big adventure.  That was the moment my lifelong love affair with aviation started.

So – what was your first flight like?

Random Aviation Photo

In October, I attended Airportfest at Fort Worth Meacham International Airport. Airportfest is the static display part of the annual Aviation Summit put on by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (my day job). There were around 100 aircraft on display.  One of the aircraft at the airport, but not part of the AOPA exhibit was the Pan Am Clipper Tabitha May. This Douglas DC-3 was sitting on the tarmac at the airport, looking like the engines could be fired up and take off at any moment. Enjoy!

12877304194_176f700bf9_b

The Best Of Aviation Queen: 5 Reasons Why I’m Glad The Delta Worldport Is Dead

Editor’s note: I’m taking the week off for vacation, so check out some of my favorite blog posts of 2013. I caused quite a stir when I went against the preservationists who wanted to stop Delta from tearing down its Terminal 3 at JF Airport. The post below first appeared on the blog on May 28. Enjoy!
5138206403_b85d405554_b

Delta Air Lines Terminal 3, JFK Airport. Photo courtesy of LI Refugee, via Flickr.

The chatter on the imminent closing of Delta Air Lines’ Terminal 3 — AKA the Third Worldport — was high leading up to the last flight on May 23.  There are those who wax poetic about the glory days, when it was the Pan Am Worldport.  And there was the glory — the first Boeing 747 flight; the first use of jetbridges; the unique flying saucer roof design; and the Panorama Room dining facility.

After Pan Am died in 1991, Delta took over the facility, and it’s been in decline ever since.  And now, despite the best efforts of the group Save The Worldport, the building s scheduled to be demolished by 2014.  Goodbye and good riddance, I say.  Below are my five reasons why.

  1. Delta had to do it. The airline has invested heavily in New York, and Terminal 3 was not a welcoming facility, with flying birds, a dated interior, limited concessions and a “dark and dank” aesthetic.
  2. Terminal 3 was the last of the Mohicans. Every other terminal at JFK Airport has been renovated in the last 10 years, and this was crimping Delta’s style in the battle over New York City area customers.
  3. Terminal 3 was beyond saving. I remember when JetBlue wanted to build its own new terminal and tried to make the iconic TWA Flight Center work, but modern needs just couldn’t be adapted to the historic building. So they built T5 from scratch. Delta was even smarter, building onto the existing T4.
  4. T4 is a BIG win for Delta customers.  I recently did an interview for a freelance article with Henry Kuykendall, the airline’s vice president of Airport Customer Service, and he was brimming with excitement on all the passenger amenities in T4.
  5. The history is gone. The good folks at Save The Worldport argue that T3′s unique flying saucer design puts it in the same league as the Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Flight Center.  But there have been so many design changes to T3, it will be very tough to get the historic designation that the TWA building has.

I give a hat tip to the Flying With Fish and Airchive blogs for their posts on the closing of T3.

Best Of Aviation Queen: Top 10 Favorite Airline Commercials

Editor’s note: kids, Aunt Benet is taking the week off to enjoy the Fourth of July with the family.  This post first appeared on Dec. 28, 2011.  So please enjoy these best ofs this week.  

I know I usually do top aviation stories of the week, but I’m on travel, so I’m switching it up a bit.  The announcement that Frontier Airlines is rolling out a new advertising campaign — complete with television commercials — made me remember how much I love a good carrier campaign.

I’ve always been a fan of good airline commercials.  I like ones that make me laugh, that give me a sense of place and that show the wonderment of air travel.  Below are links to 10 of my favorites, in no particular order.  Which ones do you like? What did I miss?

Click HERE to see the commercials!

5 Reasons Why I’m Glad The Delta Worldport Is Dead

5138206403_b85d405554_b

Delta Air Lines Terminal 3, JFK Airport. Photo courtesy of LI Refugee, via Flickr.

The chatter on the imminent closing of Delta Air Lines’ Terminal 3 — AKA the Third Worldport — was high leading up to the last flight on May 23.  There are those who wax poetic about the glory days, when it was the Pan Am Worldport.  And there was the glory — the first Boeing 747 flight; the first use of jetbridges; the unique flying saucer roof design; and the Panorama Room dining facility.  After Pan Am died in 1991, Delta took over the facility, and it’s been in decline ever since.  And now, despite the best efforts of the group Save The Worldport, the building s scheduled to be demolished by 2014.  Goodbye and good riddance, I say.  Below are my five reasons why.

  1. Delta had to do it. The airline has invested heavily in New York, and Terminal 3 was not a welcoming facility, with flying birds, a dated interior, limited concessions and a “dark and dank” aesthetic.
  2. Terminal 3 was the last of the Mohicans. Every other terminal at JFK Airport has been renovated in the last 10 years, and this was crimping Delta’s style in the battle over New York City area customers.
  3. Terminal 3 was beyond saving. I remember when JetBlue wanted to build its own new terminal and tried to make the iconic TWA Flight Center work, but modern needs just couldn’t be adapted to the historic building. So they built T5 from scratch. Delta was even smarter, building onto the existing T4.
  4. T4 is a BIG win for Delta customers.  I recently did an interview for a freelance article with Henry Kuykendall, the airline’s vice president of Airport Customer Service, and he was brimming with excitement on all the passenger amenities in T4.
  5. The history is gone. The good folks at Save The Worldport argue that T3’s unique flying saucer design puts it in the same league as the Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Flight Center.  But there have been so many design changes to T3, it will be very tough to get the historic designation that the TWA building has.

I give a hat tip to the Flying With Fish and Airchive blogs for their posts on the closing of T3.